New SAC Task Force to reexamine outdoor seating, ways to simplify SAC application process

Posted In: Communities, Planning, Wastewater & Water
Date: 12/1/2016

The Metropolitan Council has appointed a new 17-member task force to discuss and make recommendations on several issues related to the sewer availability charge, or SAC.

Council Member Wendy Wulff will chair the task force. The group includes 13 city representatives and 3 business representatives. See a list of task force members.

The Council regularly convenes a customer group to examine and evaluate SAC issues. The new task force will look at:

  • SAC charges for outdoor seating at restaurants.

  • Options for manufactured home SAC affordability issues.

  • Options to simplify the SAC application process for business owners.

  • Options to simplify SAC credit verification for communities.

The task force will meet four times by the end of January, at which time it will report on the outdoor seating issue. The group may schedule additional meetings.

SAC pays for reserve capacity in the wastewater system

SAC is a one-time fee the Council charges to local governments when:

  • A residential, commercial, industrial or institutional property first connects to the regional wastewater (sewer) system.

  • When a business or institution grows or changes and creates more potential demand on the wastewater system.

Local governments pass the SAC fee on to business or property owners, and may add on local fees.

SAC is a critical revenue source for MCES. SAC collects about $40 million annually, and pays 35% to 40% of the debt service for wastewater infrastructure. SAC allows the Council to build infrastructure large enough to handle wastewater from current and future users, and then collect as demand for additional capacity occurs.

Ensuring fairness for all users

“SAC is a service-based fee that is applied equally across all user of the regional wastewater system,” explained Ned Smith, Director of Finance and Revenue for the Council’s Environmental Services division. “It ensures that new or expanding users pay the new portion of the capacity demanded, and that existing users pay only for the debt-service portion of the system that they are using.”

The largest share (78.9% in 2016) of annual revenue for regional wastewater operations and maintenance comes from municipal wastewater charges. The Council’s municipal charges are very competitive. Nationally, our rates are about 40% lower than rates charged by similar-sized (large) agencies, according to a 2014 survey by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.

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Posted In: Communities, Planning, Wastewater & Water

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